The Sword Age of Winters

[Kemado; 2006]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: butt cream
Others: The Melvins, Boris, High On Fire, Sleep

Metal, in all its excess, isn't exactly known for striking a balance. Take, for example, Boris, masters of all styles of metal, death excluded; they mix it up album-by-album and song-by-song: sometimes you'll get something doomy, sometimes you'll get something rawky, sometimes you'll get something Melvins-y, but never more than one at a time. The Sword don't play that game on their debut LP Age of Winters, and the winner is you, post-ironic metal fan. These riff-mongers have taken all of the best parts of metal and some that I like a bit less and mixed them together for a metal cocktail that's a lot better than most straight shots of doom, death, hair, wanker, or even stoner metal. Things don't move too slow or too fast when you're with The Sword; they chug along at an oh-so-moderate-rock pace so that you can be roped in by a melody, crushed by the god of thunder, and still bob your head to the groove all at the same time. Even the references to Southern Rock, mostly in the surprising vocal harmonies, go down a lot smoother when the singer is blathering on about elves and swords. If there's a shortcoming, it's that the production and instrumentation are a bit uniform, sometimes making the album feel like one long song. Fortunately, it's just about the most rocking song you've ever heard.

1. Celestial Crown
2. Barael's Blade
3. Freya
4. Winter's Wolves
5. The Horned Goddess
6. Iron Swan
7. Lament for the Auroch
8. March of the Lor
9. Ebethron

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